Instagram, a new photo based social media platform that makes Twitter’s 140 character premise seem as outdated as the manual typewriter, is drawing considerable interest from a number of brands.
The mobile photo sharing app with a focus on quality images managed to rack up 100,000 users in its first week and 1 million by December 2010, so it’s not hard to see why brands want a piece of the rapidly rising action.
“Instagram is evolving from being a photo platform for you and your friends to share moments, into something larger and more powerful as a platform to connect with news events in a rich way,” said Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom recently.
National Geographic stepped up as the start-up's first brand partner – something of a “no brainer” move, according to Systrom - at the close of last year, with many others following. NBC News, Playboy, Pepsi, CNN and Starbucks are now among those on board.
An interesting example of how brands are using the simple platform to connect can be seen in Brazil where Levi’s has opted to highlight various items from its new range alongside lifestyle statement photographs. What’s interesting here is how Levi's manages to convey the ethos of the brand as a natural lifestyle accompaniment, seeding visual content that is akin to everyday life into a user’s social stream.
For fashion brands word dominated social media platforms such as Twitter can be a barrier to the more tactile and lifestyle oriented element of their brands. Instagram with its ability to turn humble photos into works of art manages to blur the lines between a humble snap and the kind of imagery that dominates advertising billboards and print ads. In many ways this now enables brands to slip in relatively unobtrusively into a users social world, emulating rather than competing for attention with their friends.